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In yer city

Mind the gap with our touring guide to student hot spots in five neighbourhoods. Written by locals for locals. illustration Moon Nam


Gottingen is jam-packed. Propeller Brewing Co. (2015 Gottingen Street, 422-7767) makes micro-brews and soft drinks. The Marquee Club (2014 Gottingen Street, 423-2072) is a big bar that opens only for special music shows, but if the rumours are true, this may be changing. If you're down and out, the Salvation Army shelter (2044 Gottingen Street, 422-2363) is across the street, as is ViewPoint Gallery (2050 Gottingen Street, 420-0854), which concentrates on photographs. Next block: Menz Bar (2104 Gottingen Street, 446-6969)—but some women go—is upstairs from Mollyz Diner (405-3376)—big breakfast, great fish and chips. Eyelevel Gallery (2063 Gottingen, 425-6412) is an artist-run space. The old hulking Vogue Theatre has been many things, but it's soon to be a mecca for boxing. Across the street: Monster Comic Lounge (2091 Gottingen Street, 429-2398).

On the corner of Cornwallis, an office building houses a no-name cafe and social assistance offices. Detour up Cornwallis: Joe's (5580 Cornwallis Street, 423-7976) is often voted best corner store in The Coast's Best of Halifax survey; The Yoga Loft is at 5663 Cornwallis Street, 429-3330. Back on Gottingen, Scotia Pharmasave (2151 Gottingen Street, 429-5777) is small but very good: Darren is a great pharmacist and Sally is excellent at the postal counter and there's a small magazine section. Bob and Lori's (2179 Gottingen Street, 422-3150) serves vegetarian chow and bakes bread. Alter Egos and the Backpackers Hostel (2193 Gottingen Street, 431-3170) serve great coffee and rent beds. SeaDogs Sauna (2199 Gottingen Street, 444-3647) is for boys who like to sweat with boys. The north end branch of the public library (2285 Gottingen Street, 490-5723) has a room of computers.

Over on Agricola, The Grainery Food Co-op (2385 Agricola Street, 446-3301) sells organic foodstuffs. There are antique stores all the way to Almon Street. One World Cafe (2412 Agricola Street, 404-7378) is a popular hangout. Jack Nauss Bike Shop (2533 Agricola Street, 429-0024) has been family run for 1,000 years. Dave Nauss seems like a big bear grump, but he's actually a sweetheart. The NSLC (2559 Agricola Street, 429-5645) is just before North Street; on that corner, Mid-East Food Centre (2595 Agricola, 492-0958) sells pita still warm from the oven (the bakery is next door). FRED (2606 Agricola Street, 423-5400) is for high-end haircuts plus airy cafe and art shows.

Check the hours for the Parker Street Food Bank (2415 Maynard Street), and don't forget your Nova Scotia health card. Anchor Archive Zine Library (5648 Roberts Street, 446-1788) is another great resource for indie zines and books.

There's lots more. A nice orientating walk would be to zigzag up Gottingen to North, back on Creighton, up Maynard, back on Agricola—September 8 during the Go North! Studio and Gallery Tour would be great day to do it.

—Jane Kansas


Halifax's south end is best known for big houses and expensive cars. But corralled between Robie and Morris Streets are student enclaves serving the populations of Saint Mary's University and nearby Dalhousie University. Though not as hip as the north end, the area boasts a plethora of amenities for students and yuppies alike.

Uncommon Grounds (1030 South Park Street, 431-3101) and Trident Booksellers & Cafe (1265 Hollis Street, 423-7100) are your best bets for caffeinated beverages and sweet snacks. Get them to go and head down South Park to Point Pleasant Park (entrance on Point Pleasant Drive at Young Avenue) for a casual stroll down to the water. Alternately, for the more active among us, the park is full of trails for joggers and bikers. Schooner Books (5378 Inglis Street, 423-8419) is a great place to find used copies of English-lit texts, and Atlantic News's (5560 Queen Street, 429-5468) staggering selection of magazines and newspapers from across Canada and the world will make sure that bathroom reading never gets boring.

The recent closure of Super Video has left Blockbuster (1119 Queen Street, 423-4550) as pretty much the only video store in the area. Hope you like 65 copies of Norbit for selection. There are three NSLC stores in the area; one attached to the Atlantic Superstore (1075 Barrington Street, 492-3240) one in the Sobeys (1120 Queen Street, 422-9884), and the one with the pirate (5540 Clyde Street, 423-6716).

If you're hungry, Alexandra's Pizza (1263 Queen Street, 425-1900) offers the best take-out in town, but, if you're looking for a more formal setting (i.e. not eating off take-out trays on your coffee table), Vinnie's Pasta Bar (5361 Inglis Street, 425-3538) has delicious pastas and thin-crust pizzas for pennies more than takeout, and don't forget the new wood-fired pizza at Morris East (5212 Morris Street, 444-7663). The south end is also closely located to some great ethnic cuisine, including the awesome restaurant row on South Street (look for Taj Mahal, Thai Chin and Tomavino's all in one), plus Gingergrass (1284 Barrington Street, 425-8555) has some of the best pad thai in the city.

—Ian Gormely


Sandwiched between the quirks of the north end and the bar-laden splendour of downtown, Midtown (otherwise known as the Quinpool-Robie strip) isn't a neighbourhood that immediately jumps to mind when you think of Halifax. But you guys are missing out—it's one of the best areas in the city. First of all, you have an amazing coffee shop, restaurant and video store within about a block of each other. Staff of Life Healthfood Bakery (6080 Quinpool Street, 422-7799) boasts succulent breads and some of the best organic dark roast I've ever tasted. Freeman's Little New York (6092 Quinpool Street, 429-0241) has Cosby-endorsed pizza and a Friday "hungry hour" where, if you buy a drink, you get served as many free sandwiches, pizza slices and mussels as your gut will allow. And then, there's Video Difference (6086 Quinpool Road, 425-3029), which merits a neighbourhood guide of its own for its mind-boggling three floors of films that will blow your pants off—whether you're a fancy-pants French New Wave snob or, like me, you just want to find every season of MacGyver on DVD. Shut up. It's also open 24 hours a day.

Midtown is also home to the most Greek restaurants per capita, or at least, it seems that way. It's important to be judicious with such a huge selection. My personal favorite is The Spartan (6403 Quinpool Road, 429-6858). I've fallen madly in love with their dirt-cheap delicious breakfasts, rice pudding and sweetheart staff. Dodo's Cafe and Barbecue (6184 Quinpool Road, 492-3636) is also one of those undiscovered gastronomical gems. This Mediterranean joint has cheap amazing eats, especially their hummus and baba ghanouj.

Once you've stuffed yourself to the breaking point, you can head on down to one of the last single-screen theatres in Nova Scotia, the Oxford (6408 Quinpool Road, 423-7488), to sit in balcony seating and watch movies that won't make it to the multiplex. I would also be remiss if I didn't give shout-outs to some favourites tucked away off the beaten path: Home Grown Organic Foods (6188 Allan Street, 492-1412), a tiny organic grocery store that gives you the option of ordering a pre-made veggie box that comes every two weeks (and in my case, warded off scurvy), The Pyramid Cafe (2196 Windsor Street, 422-1768) and Bluenose Laundromat (2198 Windsor Street, 422-7098). The former has cheap vegan breakfasts and staff that move at a leisurely pace, but are very nice; the latter has huge super-power dryers that have saved me many quarters.

Overall, here's your cheap tourist tagline: Midtown may be located in the middle of Halifax, but it's anything but average.

—Alison Lang


Tonnes of affordable housing and its proximity to Mount Saint Vincent University make Clayton Park a logical home base for Metro students. While less trendy than downtown living, these 'burbs offer a dizzying array of activities for local residents. Whether looking to drop some cash at local shops or pull down a part-time paycheque, the booming retail and service sectors in the neighbourhood make it easy. All the usual suspects are here, but look beyond McDonald's (272 Lacewood Drive, 443-1399) and Walmart (220 Chain Lake Drive, 450-5570), and you'll find what makes Clayton Park unique.

The Bean Sprout Cafe (480 Parkland Drive, 404-3771) serves tasty Fair Trade organic coffee, offers free wireless and makes the best grilled sandwich in town, according to readers in the last two Coast Best of Food surveys. Just down the block you'll find Video Quest (480 Parkland Drive, 450-5099), a locally owned video and game store with rental specials and an abundance of freshly popped popping corn. Pizza with your movie? Jessy's Pizza (30 Farnham Gate Road, 433-0000) makes a great pie, with toppings to satisfy any appetite.

Looking for something to do? At Kartbahn Indoor Karting (66 Otter Lake Court, 455-5278) you can burn off some steam at high speeds on a premier indoor racing track. If you're slower paced, try Putting Edge (182 Chain Lake Drive, 450-0029), which provides a glow-in-the-dark mini golf experience for kids of all ages.

When you need to get around, Metro Transit runs routes throughout the community, but if you're the chauffeur you'll need to gas up every once and awhile. Wilson's Gas Stop (30 Farnham Gate Road, 443-6919) provides customers a discount off the pump price, savings that can then be put to good use at NSLC's newest local store (117 Kearney Lake Road, 443-9507), or, as your 'rents might hope, one of the area's many grocery stores, like Sobeys (287 Lacewood Drive, 457-2102), or the Atlantic Superstore (211 Chain Lake Drive, 450-5317). Whatever you choose, you can probably find it in Clayton Park.

—Robyn McNeil


It's been said that Dartmouth is Halifax's "little Mexico." But, like Mexico, Dartmouth has its own charm.

Nova Scotia Community College's new waterfront campus is located in Woodside—

famous for the ferry terminal, the Nova Scotia Hospital for mental health, discount chocolate at Moirs (375 Pleasant Street, 469-2470)—at least until December when the factory is scheduled to close—and the city's best fish & chips at John's Lunch (352 Pleasant Street, 469-3074). Not too far away is Woodside Tavern (209 Pleasant Street, 463-7618)—a 40-year-old local watering hole known for its burgers.

Among the pawn shops and vacant storefronts in downtown Dartmouth there are some gems. The Celtic Corner (69 Alderney Drive, 464-0764) is great for a night out. The Tangled Skein (158A Portland Street) has what you need to knit something to keep you warm while skating on Lake Banook. And the quaint Queen of Cups Tea House (44 Ochterloney Street, 463-1983) is the closest thing to a coffee house next to Tim Hortons. Alderney Landing (461-4698) houses the library, the other ferry, Eastern Front Theatre and a small Saturday morning market where you can get extra spicy deep-fried Indian treats from Mrs. Ali.

Closer to the Macdonald Bridge is the Dartmouth Sportsplex (110 Wyse Road, 464-2600). You can dip into a lane or ride one of the four slides in the pool during a packed open swim, go to the gym, take a fitness class or catch a local hockey game.

For the more outdoorsy, Dartmouth's many hills make every walk a hike. Walking away from the harbour go to Sullivan's Pond. You'll pass Brightwood Golf Course—great for tobogganing in the winter. There's a trail around Lake Banook for running or walking. And past the circumferential highway is Shubie Park trail for off-road cycling.

Mic Mac Mall (21 Mic Mac Boulevard, 463-5891) has the latest deals at Winners or Old Navy, or go check out the big box stores across the highway at the new Dartmouth Crossing.

Getting from Halifax is easy by bus or ferry, but after 12:30am, you have to take a cab. Bob's Taxi (463-2222) will take you to the Sportsplex from Duke Street for $10 and the Woodside Ferry for $16 to $17. Dartmouth may play second fiddle to Halifax in the HRM symphony, but it plays it pretty darn well.

—Mike Landry

You’re lost in Bayers Lake. If you call the mayor to complain about the crappy urban planning, click here.

If your eyes are sore from looking at box stores and need to see some art, click here. Or, consult the Table of Contents.


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